Aiden Markram, South Africa's sixth bowler, was given the new ball and eyebrows would have been immediately raised over that choice. Lendl Simmons swept Markram's first ball past short fine-leg for four, cut his third delivery, which was short and wide, for four more, and then took two sixes off the last three balls. The first was a sweep over fine leg and the second an audacious smack straight down the ground. West Indies scored 20 runs off that over, their most in the first over of a T20I and the most by any team batting first in this format. … and then the squeeze
But South Africa pulled things back impressively and took six wickets in the 15 overs that followed. As has been the case throughout the series, their spinners controlled the run rate and frustrated the West Indies line-up. George Linde was introduced after the powerplay and put in the most economical performance of his T20I career by conceding just 16 runs in four overs. He also brought up 100 wickets in the format - across both international and domestic matches - when Simmons was given out leg before after missing a sweep and being hit in front of middle and leg. Just before that, Linde had Shimron Hetmyer caught behind off an under-edge as well.
With West Indies on 101 for 6 after 16 overs and a par score looking distant, Pollard took matters into his own hands. He drilled the first ball of Anrich Nortje's final over straight back to him and clattered him on the left knee. Nortje went down for several minutes, his face scrunched up in obvious pain. He received some treatment on field, got back up and bowled the remainder of his over before hobbling off for some rest to the applause of his team-mates.
The combined age of West Indies' opening bowling pair in this match was 80 years, with Fidel Edwards (39) in his second series since his Kolpak comeback and Gayle (41) sharing the new ball, though their youth appeared endless. Edwards gave little away until his last ball, but it was Gayle whose joie de vivre was on full display. He took on bowling duties complete with cap, sunglasses and earpiece on, lured Reeza Hendricks out of the crease, beat him on the drive and had him stumped, before cartwheeling in celebration. Gayle told the commentary team he had been dared to mimic Kevin Sinclair, who showed off some gymnastics moves earlier in the series.
Nortje was not the only player to suffer an injury in the match. Allen jammed his right shoulder into the ground beyond the square-leg boundary when he tried to cut off a Temba Bavuma sweep. He didn't save the boundary and his arm was put in a sling as he left the field before he could bowl, with what appeared to be a dislocated shoulder. Allen was the only specialist spinner in the West Indies XI. His overs were made up for by Pollard and Russell, who bowled his entire quota in a T20I for the first time since March last year.
Allen's absence was also mitigated by the performance of Bravo, who has been consistently excellent with the ball in this series and continued in that vein in this match. Bravo's first spell straddled the powerplay and cost just eight runs before a second at the death was laced with slower balls. He collected 4 for 11 in 12 balls in the closing stages of the match to eventually finish with career-best figures of 4 for 19. Bravo had Linde caught at point off a slower ball, de Kock caught in the same position chasing a wide full toss, Shamsi skying a ball to Gayle at extra cover and Ngidi holing out to square leg, as he took 3 for 1 in the 18th over to shut South Africa out of the contest.
Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent